I'm a huge fan of The First Purge - and really just the Purge series in general - as the Blaxploitation-styled prequel seemed to really tap into the rage that pervades our current political moment (while still delivering the franchise's trademark surrealistic carnage):
"Thankfully, DeMonaco hands the franchise's reins over to a new filmmaker for the first time in its existence (though he remains as the sole credited scribe), and the director of choice for this “Reagan Crack Era” Purge just happens to be a person of color. Gerard McMurray – whose only other feature credit is Netflix’s black fraternity hazing nightmare Burning Sands – brings an authenticity to what's essentially the series’ Blaxploitation chapter, complete with its own Superfly hero in Y'lan Noel's project kingpin Dmitri. It's the difference between watching Larry Cohen craft Black Caesar and Ossie Davis construct Cotton Comes to Harlem. The proof is in the point of view – from The First Purge’s dialect to its rageful ethos to its trap rap soundtrack – which, try as DeMonaco may, just doesn't resonate with the same fist-raised truth without a black man behind the lens."
Well, now The Purge is coming to a small screen near you - courtesy of the USA Network and SYFY, who will simulcast the premiere and finale of this ten-part "Event" series - and looks to be applying an Altman-esque ensemble approach to how a group of individuals reacts to the annual night where (for 12 hours only) all crime is legal. The spot debuted at SDCC 2018, and has now crept online, promising all the chaos and lunkheaded sociological subtext you've come to expect from James DeMonaco's trashy zeitgeist-grabber.
Check it out:
What's great about The Purge moving to TV is that it kind of fits better there (though the dwindling content restrictions may end up removing some of the series' gnarlier elements). All of the movies feel "small" despite tackling this nation-spanning evening of savage cleansing, zeroing on specific characters' emotions. This is just that, but longer and more detailed. Even the official synopsis for the Purge series reads like another sequel that just happened to be expanded to ten hours:
“Set in a dystopian America ruled by a totalitarian political party, the series follows several seemingly unrelated characters living in a small city. Tying them all together is a mysterious savior who’s impeccably equipped for everything the night throws at them. As the clock winds down with their fates hanging in the balance, each character is forced to reckon with their pasts as they discover how far they will go to survive the night.”
How great would it be if Frank Grillo ended up making a cameo as his vengeful police officer? Almost certainly won't happen, but I'm really curious how this ties into the movies' overall timeline (because I'm nerdy about my trash).
The Purge TV series is written and executive produced by franchise mastermind James DeMonaco, and Thomas Kelly (Blue Bloods) serves as executive producer/showrunner. It premieres September 4th at 10/9 EST/CST. You can bet we'll have more for you then.